About the School of Bonsai Inc.

The School of Bonsai Incorporated is a non-profit organisation, founded in 1986 by Mr. Ron Flack and Mrs. Elizabeth Simeonoff.

The School of Bonsai provides affordable courses in Bonsai for all grades, from beginner to advanced students of the art.

Classes are offered over 4 terms, of 9 weeks each, per year by highly skilled teachers.

Beginner and Intermediate classes are of 3 hours duration comprising some theory and plenty of practical Bonsai Creation with demonstrations and workshops.

Advanced classes are held as informal workshops where students work on their tree’s under the guidance of teachers and with the collaboration of fellow students.

All members of the Board, Committee and teachers of The School of Bonsai are unpaid volunteers.

 School of Bonsai Committee.

The School of Bonsai Incorporated is administered by a committee of volunteers who give their time and expertise to ensure that we have access to the best learning environment available,

The committee is elected at our annual AGM held in June,  and our current committee position holders are:

President                               Robert McVicar


Robert is our President and Treasurer for 2021.  Robert has taken on the President’s position during a period of disruption due to the current Covid-19 pandemic.  Robert continues as Treasurer to manage the School’s finances and ensure an accurate accounting for the School and regulatory purposes.

Robert has been practicing bonsai for approximately 25 years, mostly with the School and has a few good trees in nice pots and a lot more still in plastic pots.  Although Robert works with many species and styles his favorites are black pines and junipers and style is literati.

In his past life Robert was a qualified accountant and auditor, holding senior positions in government and private organisations.  These days he’s fully retired and focuses on bonsai, ceramics his daughter and two beautiful granddaughters which keeps him engaged in Life.

Vice President – Wendy Gordon

Vice President                        Doug Winstanley


Doug Winstanley started with bonsai in 1994 when his wife was given a Port Jackson Fig bonsai as a present and Doug was asked to look after it.

When Doug retired, Ray Nesci suggest he join The School of Bonsai which he did in 2008 in the Beginners Class. Since then Doug has cultivated a variety of bonsai species although he now prefers to focus more on Australian natives.

Doug has been on the committee since 2019 during which time he has contributed to a number of the subcommittees dealing with sale of trees, school show, bus trip and other activities.

Doug was, in his working life, a boilermaker working in an engineering and manufacturing company which did substantial work with the shipping industry.

Treasurer                                Robert McVicar


Please see President above for Roberts details.

Secretary                                Wendy Gordon


Wendy is our Secretary for 2022.  Wendy has been a member of the committee for the last year and is happy to give back to the school. Wendy started in the beginners class in 2008 along with other committee members, Mark Randall and Doug Winstanley and they have stayed in the same classes since starting. Wendy has been bitten by the bonsai bug, collecting many different plants over the years, leaning more now to Australian natives.

Teachers’ Rep                        Michael Kempson


Michael first studied at The School of Bonsai in 2017 but has been dabbling in bonsai with serious intent for at least 10 years. He teaches in the Thursday evening beginner’s class. His trees, numbering a little more than 300, range in species and style with no clear preference for they are all considered to have the potential to get better.

Michael is a visual artist, but so he doesn’t starve in his garret, he currently works as a Senior Lecturer at the University of NSW in the Faculty of Arts Design & Architecture and as the Vice-Dean of the International Printmaking Institute, at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing, China. Michael also initiates projects as the Director of Cicada Press, working with over 230 artists resulting in his curation to date of 89 exhibitions around the world. Michael’s artwork is represented in the National Gallery of Art, Canberra, and many international and Australian art museums.                        

Technical Systems                Ray Mackaway


Ray has been on the committee for about 5 years in the role of Teacher’s Representative.  Ray will now take up the challenge of introducing and managing the Schools information Systems which will be a crucial function for the future.  

Ray has been involved in bonsai for over 30 years and has been a teacher with the Thursday morning class for about 7 years. Ray’s interest in bonsai covers a number of advanced techniques including grafting and bending very thick branches. Ray maintains interests in not only bonsai but model trains and photography. 

 Now retired, Ray worked for over forty years as an electronic/mechanical engineer, responsible for inventing audio equipment for use in third-world countries.

Committee Members


Kerry Stewart

Kerry has been interested in, studied and been a journalist exploring horticulture and garden design for much of her career.

She also has a long term interest in Japan and studies Zen Buddhism.

After retirement from being a producer for ABC Radio National, she was finally able to study her fascination with bonsai.

The people at the School of Bonsai – both teachers and students – have been extremely generous in sharing their knowledge with a relative newcomer, making her experience of working with small trees all the more enjoyable.

Leon Chong

Leong, a teacher at the School of Bonsai Inc was introduced to the fascinating world of bonsai as a student at the school in 2000. Having a natural flair for the bonsai art form, he combined knowledge gained at the school with his own methodical approach to successfully create many aesthetically appealing bonsai compositions.

 He has sourced his plant material in a wide variety of ways, from bonsai nurseries, collected matured plants from gardens of houses that were to be demolished for development and even rescued many discarded plants left on the side of the road (if only those people who discarded them knew what they looked like now!). These plants, though having humble beginnings, have been trained to produce the wonderful array of spectacular bonsai compositions in his collection.  In creating them, lots of techniques, processes and philosophies have been involved, which he has presented in his book ‘The Seven Principles of Bonsai Design’.
Additionally, he presents at various bonsai clubs and conducts workshops for beginners and experienced bonsai enthusiasts to share his thought processes for transforming untrained plant material into eye catching bonsai settings.

Ken Poole

Joined The School of Bonsai as a beginner in about 2004.

My impetus to join and learn about Bonsai was an English Oak I had grown from seed for about 20 years before then. It had been ignored and died back several times, but had a great little stubby trunk and bark.
A few years at The School showed me how to improve its Nebari and shape, but the reverse taper it had could never be overcome.

Airlayering, seeds, and the local nurseries saw my collection grow rapidly to unmanageable levels, but my desire to learn increased in proportion.
As an IT guy, online resources and forums supplemented my knowledge of Bonsai, and putting the info from online to practice has given me a depth of knowledge to draw from.
I developed a passion for many species of trees, and Australian Natives are a passion and are vastly underused in our Bonsai. The desire to learn more about them led me to join the premier online Bonsai forum of AusBonsai where I have posted many articles and shared the knowledge I have gained.
Our School show sees me doing Demos and talking about bonsai and hopefully encouraging more to take up the challenge that Bonsai offers us all.

Evan Marsh

Evan has been practising bonsai for the last 9 years and currently works as a professional bonsai artist. His thirst for knowledge led him to studying bonsai from both a scientific and artistic background, having undertaken Horticultural Sciences at Sydney University and intensive Bonsai training in Japan under the guidance of Koji Hiramatsu. He now does bonsai styling and maintenance for private clients, having the opportunity to work on many of the best Bonsai across Australia.
He has been a active participant of the Sydney Bonsai Club scene, having become a regular demonstrator for various Bonsai clubs. His involvement with the School of Bonsai began in 2017, having been asked to join as a teacher for the intermediate class. He has been a member of the committee since 2019, and hopes his knowledge and passion allows the School of Bonsai to flourish into the future.